"Thaniel #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by OSSM Comics
Written by Omar Spahi
Illustrated by Terry Huddleston
2014, 32 Pages
Comic Released on April 23rd, 2014
After jumping right into the action with the first issue, Thaniel #2 takes a look back at how the title character got his supernatural abilities...sort of. The big revelation at the tail end of the previous chapter showed that the big drug dealer that Thaniel was tracking down was connected to someone from his past. Now we get to see why that's important with a flashback.
Thaniel was your average high school student. He liked hanging out and goofing off with his friends Mackenzie and Cary, but that didn't translate well into grades. When he's not spending time with his buddies, he's being a dick to his mom. This makes him feel like a real ass when she dies suddenly in a car accident. While trying to come to terms with his loss, he sees a couple thugs assaulting a young woman and jumps in to stop them, only to find that he can manifest razor sharp scythes and an intimidating hoodie with a skull on it.
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This begins Thaniel's one man war against crime in his neighborhood. He decides to clean up the streets because...well, I guess he has nothing better to do. Seriously, there's no other motivation given outside of how badass he looks carving up local drug dealers. Even his reaction to the death of his mother feels forced because he's nothing but hostile to her in the only scene the two share.
Thaniel's powers are presumably given to him by a creepy guy in a top hat who is bouncing around town. They have no direct interaction and the stranger often watches him from afar. Based on the press release promoting the book, this is Death, but it's not very clear in the comic itself. He's definitely an important character, but there's not much to go on just yet.
After reading the first two issues of Thaniel, the story would have been better served if pieces of this issue came first instead of jumping into a flashback. It doesn't help matters that the recap on the opening page provided more information than the entire first chapter, filling in details that were unclear previously.
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Terry Huddleston continues to deliver dynamite artwork for Thaniel. His sparse use of color provides some emotion to each scene, whether it's a heart-to-heart conversation between friends or a bloodbath as Thaniel rips apart some thugs. The funeral scene is done almost entirely in silhouette, which provides a nice touch and underscores the somber tone. The aforementioned creepy guy in the top hat has a cool shot as he looks after Thaniel. He's literally pulling strings from afar, like the kid is a marionette. It makes the title character's actions appear in a different light.
Thaniel has some good elements to it but is rather disjointed so far. It's like the pieces of the story got mixed up along the way and we're stuck with a puzzle that doesn't quite look like the picture on the box. We're halfway through the four issue mini-series and there are a lot of basic questions that are still unanswered.
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